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Published: Sunday, 1/21/2007

First-place Rockets hope to push MAC mark to 5-0

The University of Toledo men's basketball team will attempt to post a 5-0 start in Mid-American Conference play today for the first time since the 1979-80 season.

The Rockets entertain Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. today at Savage Hall.

A win over the Huskies (4-12, 1-3 MAC) would give UT a sweep in its first time through MAC West Division foes on this season's schedule.

Toledo, already owns a two-game lead in the West standings, thanks to a balanced attack that finds four players averaging in double figures since the start of league play.

Keonta Howell leads the way with a 15.5-point average, followed by Justin Ingram (14), Florentino Valencia (10.5), and Kashif Payne (10.3).

Valencia leads the MAC and ranks sixth nationally with his .656 field goal percentage.

The Rockets, 8-8 overall and the only West Division team without a losing record, has won 11 straight MAC regular-season games dating to last season.

UT has won six of its last seven meetings against Northern Illinois, which is led by senior guard Mike McKinney and his 13.8-point scoring average.

After drawing 7,803 fans for the last home game, UT is expecting another big crowd today on Community Day, with all tickets priced at $2. Quick Change, a husband-wife dancing/magic act which appears regularly at NBA games, will provide halftime entertainment.

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